Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Anglicans called to join worldwide Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Anglican Communion bishops beat the drum for climate justice
Photo Credit: Canon Ken Gray

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, has called on Anglicans everywhere to join Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Lutheran and other Christians in a World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation on 1 September.

The first day of September has become a significant date for Christians caring for the environment. The Orthodox Church has celebrated a Day of Prayer for the Environment on 1 September since 1989 and earlier this month Pope Francis established a ‘World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation’ in the Roman Catholic Church which will be held annually on the same date.

Pope Francis said in a letter to the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity,“As Christians we wish to offer our contribution to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing”.  He said that the World Day of Prayer would offer individuals and communities an opportunity to “reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation” and that it should become an occasion for “reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles”.

The Lutheran World Federation has been promoting a global ‘Fast for the Climate’ and has invited its member churches to fast and pray on the first day of every month until December 2015, when the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 20) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Paris, France. The fast is seen as “a way for religious communities to express and act upon their concern about climate change and climate justice”, to “show a commitment to undertake the necessary transformations in their communities”, and to “demand that national governments work for more ambitious and ethical outcomes in climate negotiations”, according to Dr Carlos Bock, who was Director of the LWF Department for Mission and Development when the initiative was launched.

Archbishop Makgoba is chair of the international Anglican Communion Environmental Network and in February this year hosted a meeting of bishops from around the Anglican Communion whose dioceses are suffering from the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation. In a statement The World is our Host: A call to urgent action for climate justice, the bishops encouraged Anglicans to “join in prayer and fasting for climate justice on the first day of each month as an integral part of life and worship”.

Archbishop Makgoba has set out his own commitment to fasting and praying for climate justice on 1 September:

“I fast in solidarity with children who will go to bed hungry tonight because their parents cannot afford the rising prices of food.

“I fast in solidarity with climate refugees who have lost their homes and livelihoods due to climate change.

“And I fast in solidarity with people of faith around the world because we know that hope is rising.”


 

Let ACEN know via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #Pray4Creation if you are praying for the care of creation.

To learn more about ACEN, subscribe to the Network’s newsletter.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, August 25, 2015

Young Christians prepare to spend ‘a year in God’s time’ at Lambeth Palace

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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[Lambeth Palace] “Intense preparations” are underway at Lambeth Palace for the arrival of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s new community for young Christians, the Community of St Anselm.

Sixteen Christians from around the world, aged between 20 and 35, will move in to Lambeth Palace early next month, joined by 22 non-resident members, for a year of prayer, study and service in the community.

On 18 September Archbishop Justin Welby will officially welcome them to Lambeth Palace at a “Service of Commitment” in the Chapel, during which they will promise to live by a Rule of Life. The service will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship on 20 September.

“Our hope and vision is that those young people who come here will be so changed by their encounter with Christ that in twenty or thirty years, they will change the world,” Archbishop Welby said.

The Prior of the Community of St Anselm, the Revd Anders Litzell, said: “In the middle of what is quite inevitably an intense period of preparation here at Lambeth, the whole team is energised by the thought of our soon-to-be members making their own preparations, packing bags, praying and getting ready for a year in God’s time.

“This is a time of prayer and prep; our prayers enabling our preparations and our preparations informing our prayers. Prayers not only for the practical aspects, but in thinking about our members, praying into their thoughts, their travels, their questions, the things they’ll do while they are here – and more than anything praying into their hunger for the Living God.

“We’re all in for a journey of wonderful – if challenging – discovery about God and about ourselves. It will be a transforming experience for everyone involved; for the team here, for the members and for Lambeth Palace and the Archbishop’s ministry – all to the glory of God and in service of his world.


 

Find out more and read interviews with community members on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s website.

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Anglican Communion News Service, ACNS Today’s top stories, August 25, 2015

Marriage canon report in final stages

Posted on: August 24th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Marriage canon commission member Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Trent-Durham area, in the diocese of Toronto.​ File photo: Anglican Journal


The final meeting of the Anglican Church of Canada’s commission on the marriage canon took place at the national office in Toronto on Friday, August 21.

Since its first meeting in April 2014, the commission has been engaged in a broad and diverse consultation on the feasibility of changing Canon 21—the church’s law on marriage—to allow same-sex unions.

“We’re very close to completing the text of the report,” said commission member Bishop Linda Nicholls of the Trent-Durham area in the diocese of Toronto. “We’re doing the final editing and formatting.”

This is the commission’s fourth face-to-face meeting, “but there have been numerous e-mail conference calls,” Nicholls said.

The largest section of the roughly 50-page report will be devoted to biblical and theological reflection on the feasibility of Anglican same-sex marriage. The report will also address other components spelled out in General Synod 2013’s original mandating resolution on the marriage of same-sex couples. These include the wording of any amendment to Canon 21 permitting same-sex marriage, the terms of reference of the Solemn Declaration of 1893, which created the Anglican Church of Canada, and legal aspects of a conscience clause protecting bishops, dioceses, clergy and congregations from being constrained to authorize or participate in such marriages against the dictates of conscience.

The commission’s final report will be submitted to a special session of Council of General Synod (CoGS) scheduled September 22–23.

“I hope readers of the report will remember that our task was to do the work that was asked for in the original resolution,” Nicholls said. “And not to decide for the church whether we should do this but to provide the background to see whether it is possible…”

In July 2013, General Synod—the church’s governing body—passed Resolution C003, which will bring a motion concerning same-sex marriage to its next meeting in 2016. The resolution asked CoGS to prepare and present a motion to change the church’s Canon 21 on marriage “to allow the marriage of same-sex couples in the same way as opposite-sex couples.”

The resolution asked that this motion include “a conscience clause so that no member of the clergy, bishop, congregation or diocese should be constrained to participate in or authorize such marriages against the dictates of their conscience.”

It also set additional criteria contained in amendments introduced by diocese of Algoma Bishop Stephen Andrews and Dean Peter Elliott, diocese of New Westminster. The amendments, approved by a vote, stated that the 2016 motion should include supporting documentation that:

  • “demonstrates broad consultation in its preparation;
  • explains how this motion does not contravene the Solemn Declaration;
  • confirms immunity under civil law and the Human Rights Code for those bishops, dioceses and priests who refuse to participate in or authorize the marriage of same-sex couples on the basis of conscience; and
  • provides a biblical and theological rationale for this change in teaching on the nature of Christian marriage.”

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Anglican Journal News, August 24, 2015

‘Speak truth to power,’ primate urges Anglicans

Posted on: August 19th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Journal staff


 Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. Photo: Screen capture from Anglican Video


The church’s “absolute and unwavering commitment” to addressing the injustices that Canada’s Indigenous people continue to experience is one of the key elements in achieving meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, the primate of the Anglican Church of Canada has said.

“I pray that as a church, we will rise up to this challenge, join hands with Indigenous peoples, walk with you, and with you speak truth to power,” said Archbishop Fred Hiltz in a sermon delivered during the opening eucharist of the 8th national Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle on August 17. About 160 Indigenous Anglicans across Canada are gathered at the UNIFOR Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ont., for the triennial meeting, August 16-22.

As he reflected on the day’s readings—“a judgment against Israel, a psalm of penitence and a gospel of invitation to a new way of living”—Hiltz spoke passionately about how both Canada and the church have failed God and Indigenous people.

“…Like the people of Israel, we have followed other gods: the gods of imperialism, the notion of the superiority of some races over others, the institutionalizing of racism, the enacting of policies of assimilation grounded in nothing less than a resolve in cultural genocide,” said Hiltz. “…Dare I say, we provoked the Lord’s anger in the manner in which in the name of colonialism and the spirit of the doctrine of discovery we suppressed Indigenous [people] across Turtle Island and smothered their languages, culture and spirituality.”

Hiltz expressed the hope that the church will address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s Calls to Action and turn them into priorities in its ministry among and with Indigenous people. “For those who have ears to hear, a conscience to stir and a heart to move, the [TRC] has humbled this nation to confess its sin, and to pray for guidance in walking a new and different way with the First Peoples of this land,” he said. “…If we are true to an abiding commitment to an evolving relationship with one another, the church can do no less, for the love of Jesus compels us.”

The primate also referred to the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples’ (ACIP) call for a change in the church’s governance structures to allow greater self-determination for Indigenous Anglicans.

The proposals—which include the creation of self-determining Indigenous ministries, provisions for urban ministry and Indigenous training and ordination programs, among others—will be discussed at the Sacred Circle.

“I hear a number of questions about the call, most in the spirit of understanding it and enhancing our capacity to embrace it, as fully as possible through whatever structural changes might emerge in the church,” said Hiltz, noting that initial discussions have taken place at the National House of Bishops and the Council of General Synod (CoGS).

Hiltz said the call for greater self-determination arises from the crises that Indigenous leaders witness in their communities, mostly as consequences of the Indian residential school system and the lingering effects of colonialism.

“I am continually sobered by the stark reality that 70% of Indigenous peoples are dependent on social assistance and that one in two Aboriginal children live in poverty,” he noted. “I am continually sobered by the awful reality that more Indigenous peoples are living in slums in the downtown core of large cities than in their own communities.” Canada’s Indigenous people also “represent the highest group of death by accident or violence of any culture in the world,” he added.

The Sacred Circle, Hiltz said, presents an opportunity for healing, reconciliation and a new life. “It’s about renewing commitments to ministry. It’s about the nurturing of a friendship in the spirit of Jesus’ teaching,” he said. “It’s about rebuilding trust, nurturing respect, restoring harmony and looking expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities in this church of ours and in this country.”

The church’s commitments will be manifested in various ways—from engaging political leaders in the federal election campaign, to responding to the TRC’s Calls to Action and in heeding Indigenous Anglicans’ call for greater self-determination within the church.

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Anglican Journal News, August 19, 2015

Robert Daniel MacRae, priest, activist

Posted on: August 15th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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The Rev. Robert Daniel MacRae, first secretary of the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF), former rector of St. John the Divine Anglican Church in Victoria, B.C. and archdeacon of Juan de Fuca, diocese of British Columbia, died on August 1 after a short illness. He was 82.

MacRae’s ministry as a priest began in the former diocese of Cariboo and spanned four decades of service both at the parish level and in the Toronto offices of the Anglican Church of Canada. He is remembered as a man whose tireless commitment to social justice led him to speak out on the issues of his day.

The Rev. Carl Major, his former colleague at the national office, described him as being a “strong individual” who cared deeply about international development. “He was passionate about trying to raise money for work overseas,” said Major. “He was really concerned about human rights.”

He was “a man of many talents, most notably an ability to recognize and encourage the talents of others,” according to an obituary published in The Times Colonist. He was “forward looking, passionate for social justice, inclusion and ecumenism: an extraordinary priest whose ministry touched and influenced many lives.”

Born and raised in Prince Albert, Sask., MacRae’s concern for the well-being of others led him to pursue a master’s of social work at the University of British Columbia after completing his theological education at the University of Emmanuel College in Saskatoon in 1958, the same year he was ordained.

After serving as a parish priest in the central interior of British Columbia in the early 1960s, he moved to Toronto in 1966 to take up the position of associate general secretary of the council for social services at the national church office.

MacRae’s passion for overseas development helped found the PWRDF and, from 1970 to 1976, he served as the relief and development organization’s first secretary. He was also instrumental in launching the Hendry Report, an investigation into the relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the nation’s Indigenous people that culminated in the publication of Beyond Traplines, a damning account of how the church was failing its Indigenous members.

MacRae returned to parish ministry in 1977 when he became rector of the oldest church in British Columbia, Victoria’s St. John the Divine Anglican Church. He had first stepped foot in this church—which he would go on to lead until his retirement in 1997—in 1952, while serving in the navy.

It was at St. John the Divine that MacRae spearheaded the Anglican church’s involvement in boycotting Nestlé over its aggressive promotion of breast milk substitutes in the global south, which he and many others believed was linked to a variety of health problems.

After retiring in 1997, the parish of St. John the Divine established the Robert and Susan MacRae Choral Scholarship Fund, which allows students to gain experience singing material from the Anglican sacred music tradition. MacRae remained actively engaged in the church throughout his retirement in various ways, including through the writing of The Man Who Gave Back, a book about the philanthropy of H.R. MacMillan, a donor to the Anglican Theological College in Vancouver and Union College of British Columbia.

MacRae also had a long-standing interest in his own Scottish heritage, and was, at the time of his death, the Honorary Commander of the Clan MacRae Society Worldwide.

MacRae is survived by his wife, Susan, his daughters Julia, Bridget, Phoebe and Caitlin, and his seven grandchildren.

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Anglican Journal News, August 13, 2015

Indigenous bishops opt for third way in marriage canon issue

Posted on: August 12th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh and National Indigenous Bishop Mark MacDonald at Council of General Synod in 2014. Photo: André Forget


On August 7, the Anglican Church of Canada’s Indigenous bishops attempted to chart a course between the liberal/conservative binary on the question of whether the church should practice same-sex marriages in their statement to the commission on the marriage canon.

“Though many, if not most, of our [Indigenous] societies appear to have had protocols of welcome and acceptance for homosexual members, we see little evidence that these practices were thought to be similar to marriage,” read the statement, signed by Bishop Lydia Mamakwa of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry of Mishamikoweesh, Indigenous Bishop of Missinipi Adam Halkett of the diocese of Saskatchewan, and National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald.

This does not mean, however, that there is a “clear consensus” among Indigenous Anglicans about what course the church should take regarding same-sex marriage, and the statement acknowledged that there was disagreement among elders as to what the response should be if the church were to change its canons to allow for such marriages.

“Some view this as intolerable, a few find this acceptable, and many would be willing to accept that we disagree with the larger church on these matters, as long as our societies, communities, and nations have the acknowledged and welcome freedom to act on their own,” the bishops said, adding that, “This last view is certainly the most widely held across the whole of our discussions on the issue.”

Mamakwa and MacDonald presented the statement (to which Halkett had also contributed) to the commissioners orally on Nov. 14, 2014, in response to a request for a submission from the commission earlier that year. The document posted to the commission’s website is not substantially different from what they presented at that time, MacDonald said.

The statement is careful to “affirm that we understand gay and lesbian Indigenous people to be members of our communities and family,” and to emphasize that “there is no place for hatred and separation in Indigenous communities, and especially, in Indigenous Christian communities.”

Rather, the concerns voiced by the bishops—and by the elders they consulted in drafting the statement—are over the meaning and purpose of marriage. To that end, the signatories declare their “commitment to what we understand to be the traditional, spiritual, and Indigenous understanding of marriage,” and conclude that, therefore, they “cannot accept any changes that might be made without consultation with our communities.”

In an interview with the Anglican Journal, MacDonald noted that while he and his fellow bishops understand the importance of contributing to the conversation, they were “reluctant to do it” because they felt that, due to general ignorance among non-Indigenous people about traditional Indigenous social structures, “this type of cross-cultural communication generally does not work in our favour.”

Indeed, the statement pointed out that many Indigenous Anglicans feel that their perspectives and opinions are not well represented in current debates over human sexuality.

“At present, we do not hear our concerns and approach in either side of this very strained discussion,” the bishops said. “Our approach is not understood by either.”

The 1,716 word statement also said that while Canadian society at large views marriage as a “social contract between two people” with an emphasis on individual choice and freedom, “for our elders marriage is a ceremony of community and the primary place where we enact our understanding of Creation and the relationship of God to the universe.”

The commission on the marriage canon was established by Council of General Synod in fall 2013, in response to a resolution approved at General Synod to bring a motion regarding same-sex marriage to its 2016 meeting. As part of its mandate, the commission solicited opinions from various bodies within the church as well as ecumenical partners and individuals in Canada and overseas. The submissions can be found on the Anglican Church of Canada’s website.

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Anglican Journal News, August 11, 2015

Indigenous Anglican bishop condemns brutal logic of greed and power

Posted on: August 10th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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    Bishop Mark MacDonald

By Kristine Greenaway for World Council of Churches

The nuclear attack on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945 revealed the brutality and dangerous logic of war, money and power, according to an Indigenous Anglican bishop from Canada.

“That such a thing can make sense in any universe gives insight into what is happening in the world today,” says Bishop Mark MacDonald of the Anglican Church in Canada. “The forces that led to the bombing of Hiroshima are at work now in the destruction of the climate.”

MacDonald, an Indigenous Canadian who is the North American president for the World Council of Churches (WCC), made his comments in response to the WCC pilgrimage of church leaders to Japan last week marking the 70th anniversary of dropping nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Due to a scheduling conflict, MacDonald was unable join the pilgrimage where he was to speak from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.

In an interview with WCC Communications, MacDonald says that Indigenous Elders (leaders) “are critical of money and power that are so clearly manipulating science in the service of some of the most basic human inclinations. Science that is supposedly value-free is put into the service of the idolatry of greed and power.”

“Our Elders are critical of the almost blasphemous understanding that human beings have control over nature: it makes the Creator subservient to human beings and ignores the beautiful logic of God and of Mother Earth. The alternative is the same logic as that of colonialism, and the on-going threat to Indigenous peoples’ lives is still potent in Canada and around the world,” says MacDonald, who became the first National Indigenous Bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada in 2007.

Referring to traditional Indigenous practices of creating “zones of peace” for discussion among enemies, Macdonald believes the church is called to create space for the well-being of all.

“The role of the church today is to confront the destructive gods of greed and power. We Christians need to return to our roots, proclaim the truth of God and challenge these powers,” the bishop states.

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Anglican Communion News Service,  ACNS Today’s top stories,  August 10, 2015

Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle builds on past success

Posted on: August 7th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Participants take part in prayer during the 2012 Sacred Circle in Pinawa, Manitoba. National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald is fourth from left.

Participants take part in prayer during the 2012 Sacred Circle in Pinawa, Manitoba. National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald is fourth from left.

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Progress that has been made by Indigenous Anglicans towards self-determination will be evident by the very nature of the discussion when the eighth national Anglican Indigenous Sacred Circle meets later in August.

“The next phase of self-determination will be the heart and focus of it,” National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald said of the meeting, which is scheduled to take place from August 16-22 at the UNIFOR Family Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ont.

Representative of accomplishments thus far was the adoption at the 2013 General Synod of Canon XXII, which formalized the incorporation of the Sacred Circle into the larger structure of the Anglican Church of Canada.

If substantial progress has been made, those achievements are in no small part due to the influence of the Sacred Circle itself—the national gathering and decision-making body for Indigenous Anglicans in Canada.

Taking place every three years, Sacred Circle serves as an opportunity for First Nations, Inuit and Métis church members to come together in prayer with the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP)—along with the Primate and twelve non-Indigenous church leaders—to talk about their concerns and priorities as Indigenous Anglicans, and to make plans and prepare statements for the wider church.

The first meeting, which took place in 1988 in Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask., followed increasing calls for such a gathering in light of various issues affecting Indigenous Anglicans, such as the health and vitality of Indigenous congregations, urban ministry, the emerging environmental crisis and the truth about residential schools, which also affected the church as a whole.

In the 27 years since, Sacred Circle has been the site of numerous historic developments, including the 1993 apology by Archbishop Michael Peers for the church’s role in administering the Indian residential schools, the development of the 1994 Covenant calling for a new relationship with the church based on self-determination, and the creation of the position of National Indigenous Anglican Bishop.

Sacred Circle, said Bishop MacDonald, “has been the catalyst for just about everything that’s happened.”

“Although it reflects things that are going on in the local communities,” he added, “when it comes together it focuses it and allows that energy to be dispersed creatively throughout the network of Indigenous congregations.”

Approximately 160 people are expected to attend this year’s Sacred Circle, with a broad cross-section of delegates including clergy, lay leaders, elders and young people. Indigenous guests from other countries will include a Sami guest from Sweden and a Maori guest from New Zealand.

Along with adapting to the changes created as a result of Canon XXII, the meeting will include discussion of the statement Where We Are Today: Twenty Years after the Covenant, an Indigenous Call to the Wider Church, how to respond to the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its 94 calls to action, reports from various committees, and the election of new ACIP members.

Currently, each of the four ecclesiastical provinces has two representatives on ACIP, which Indigenous Ministries Coordinator, the Rev. Canon Ginny Doctor said may come up for debate.

“A place like Rupert’s Land has tons of Indigenous ministry, but still they only get two [representatives]—and a place like the Arctic, although it’s huge in terms of land mass, population-wise it’s not that big and they get two,” Doctor said. “So we’re going to play with that and see if we can make some adjustments to have a more fair representation.”

A new development this year, she noted, will be two occasions for learning circles which will include workshops on climate change, Indigenous catechist training, urban ministry, and models for suicide prevention.

“We’re really trying to highlight a lot of the good work that’s being done.”

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, August 07, 2015

Grants available for interfaith collaboration

Posted on: August 5th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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Echoing principles laid out in the Marks of Mission, the Anglican Foundation of Canada (AFC) is offering five one-time grants of $10,000 each for new community service or outreach projects that involve interfaith collaboration. Requests for proposals are due Sept. 1, 2015.

The grants are part of a new tradition for the Foundation, which beginning in 2014 pledged to set aside $50,000 each year to encourage and fund innovative ministry-related projects through a request-for-proposals process.

This year’s interfaith focus is designed to meet human need through loving service. Projects eligible for the grant will be new initiatives undertaken in 2016 that involve collaboration between Anglicans and individuals or groups from at least one religion other than Christianity.

Each project requires the endorsement of a diocesan bishop in the Anglican Church of Canada. Proposals submitted in response to the request do not count as one of the three submissions each diocese is allowed per year.

Following the deadline for submissions on Sept. 1, the AFC board of directors will review proposals in November 2015 and announce the recipients of the grants in early December.

For more information, visit the Anglican Foundation of Canada website.

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Anglican Church of Canada, News from General Synod, August 05, 2015

First female diocesan bishop in the Church of England consecrated

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by CEP Administrator No Comments
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By Anglican Communion News Service

Bishops Rachel Treweek (left) and Sarah Mullally (right) with Archbishop Justin Welby outside Canterbury Cathedral. Photo: Rob Berry/Canterbury Cathedral


A wave of clapping and cheering greeted two newly consecrated bishops as they processed down a packed Canterbury Cathedral on a historic day. The Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, Bishop of Crediton, and the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, made history as the first women to be consecrated and ordained bishop in the historic heart of Anglicanism – Canterbury Cathedral.

The service was celebratory from beginning to end. Opening with the rousing Wesley Hymn O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, the service continued with readings from Song of Songs and 2 Corinthians preceding the account of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and the risen Jesus from the Gospel of John.

The preacher, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, Bishop of Stepney, reminded the congregation that the gospel depiction of Mary Magdalene was far removed from the imagination of masculine fantasy in works such as the De Vinci Code.

Mary Magdalene was a significant leader in the community of Jesus, he said, and it was no accident that she was the first to speak with the risen Jesus and the first to tell the good news of his resurrection.

In a sermon punctuated with pithy observation Bishop Newman called on Bishops Rachel and Sarah to make a difference in the life of the church.

“I hope that women bishops will disturb us,” he said. “I hope they will challenge the conventions of the Church of England, which continues to be led and directed by too many people like me: white, male, middle-aged professionals.”

Bishop Treweek is the first woman to be a Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England but she is not the first in the Anglican Communion. In Canterbury she was joined by the Rt Revd Helen-Ann Hartley, the Bishop of the Diocese of Waikato in New Zealand, and the Rt Revd Cate Waynick, the Bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis in the USA.

To add to the sense of history they processed alongside Bishop Barbara Harris, the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion, who was consecrated in 1989.

The Diocese of Gloucester has partnership links with dioceses in South India, Sweden, Tanzania and the USA. Its link Diocese of El Camino Real in California also has a woman diocesan bishop who became the first woman bishop to preside in an English Cathedral when she visited Gloucester as part of a Continuing Indaba journey in 2010.

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Anglican Journal News, July 24, 2015